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May e-ClassNotes

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English Language Arts CCSS Workshop Focuses on Quality Questioning Techniques

We hosted a professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers on May 21. Career educator Meesha Brown was on hand to lead an interactive discussion on quality questioning and the CCSS. Ensuring we provide professional development like this workshop is part of Classroom, Inc.’s ongoing commitment to support teachers in improving student outcomes and creating engaging classroom environments. Read more.

CRESST Conference Reflections: Tests Can Actually Be…Fun???

At the recent CATS/CRESST Conference, Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu: Integrating Games, Technology and Assessment to Accelerate Learning in the 21st Century, we heard that testing can actually be fun and engaging when embedded in learning games! Dr. Jane Canner, our senior education advisor, attended this year’s event and reflected on the promise of learning games to both engage students and provide teachers with useful evidence of learning. Read more.

Celebrating Teachers!

We have love for educators year-round but paid special tribute to them during this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9. Check out how Classroom, Inc. staff gave a shout out to the special teachers in our lives.

Each month, we will feature something new and exciting about the development of After the Storm—our new game-based learning programs designed to middle-level Common Core State Standards in reading and writing.We recently completed the development of the interactive writing activity. Students will create a written piece—such as an editorial, opinion piece, or informational article—at the end of each day of work as the editor-in-chief.Students begin by receiving a text message from either the publisher or someone on staff indicating what they have to write for the online magazine.

Super Ed—the instructional editing coach throughout the game—guides students through all parts of what they will write and offers tips. Here Super Ed is giving tips on how to write the body of an informative article. After going through the tutorial, students take a mini-assessment to make sure they are on track and ready to write.
A document map—along with Super Ed, of course—guides students step-by-step to produce their written document. Students can refer back to source documents from previously completed activities (which act as embedded assessments throughout the game) to reference in their written piece. Once complete, the assignment is directly fed into the teacher dashboard.

A win-win-scenario: Students build key writing skills and experience how writing is essential to the workplace, while teachers track individual progress and students’ abilities to apply what they are learning to relevant and engaging writing tasks!

Partner Focus
Sharing Lessons at COSEBOC: Blended Learning Developed by Blended Partnerships

At this year’s Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) Annual Gathering, we partnered with the High School of Sports Management (HSSM) in NYC on a blended learning presentation to share best practices with educators and schools leaders from around the country. With the help of Derek Cradle, assistant principal of HSSM, we examined how his school has leveraged partnerships to provide innovative experiences for students and ongoing coaching for teachers, all within a blended learning model.

The session used the partnership with Classroom, Inc. to highlight how our workplace simulations are infused into instruction to help students connect academics to the real world. The school leverages this partnership by combining digital learning games with mentoring from members of the community and face-to-face experiences with professionals in various sports management careers.

Participants learned how this blended learning partnership model is replicable and scalable in various school communities, and how it can work toward both academic and social outcomes for students. COSEBOC is a particularly powerful setting to highlight our work on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps since the gathering is acutely focused on increasing supports for boys of color to succeed in all aspects of life, beginning with a strong educational foundation.

Our program implementation at the High School of Sports Management is made possible by the NY Life Foundation’s Transition Program for Youth.

What we're readingCheck out the full list of news, blogs, and reports that caught our eye this month in our May RoundUP.

Good Teaching, Poor Test Scores: Doubt Cast on Grading Teachers by Student Performance, Washington Post:
In the first large-scale analysis of new systems that evaluate teachers based partly on test scores, two researchers found little to no correlation between quality teaching and the appraisals teachers received.MindShift’s Guide to Games & Learning, KQED:
There’s increasing momentum for games in learning environments. MindShift makes sense of the available research and provides suggestions for practical use. The post series will evolve into a downloadable guide, so bookmark it today!Don’t Call Them Dropouts, GradNation:
The campaign from America’s Promise Alliance is out with new report that looks to understand the experiences of young people who leave high school before graduation.
We’re making our plans for various events over the next couple months. Want to meet up with us?
Email: CInewsletter@classroominc.org
Tweet at us: @ClassroomInc
Games + Learning + Society:
Madison, WI June 10-13
Atlanta, GA June 28-July 1
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Conference:
Las Vegas, NV June 29-July 2